Oje Ken Ollivierre popularly known as Protoje, is a contemporary reggae singer, and songwriter from Jamaica. His mother is Jamaican singer, Lorna Bennett, best known for her 1972 rendition of “Breakfast in Bed”. His father is a former calypso king from the island nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Seven Year Itch
Protoje first gained notice for his 2005 mixtape Lyrical Overdose Volume 1, featuring mostly hip hop-influenced songs. With a guest appearance by Busy Signal, however, his future career was leveled as a reggae and dancehall artist. In 2010, Protoje began working with Don Corleon Records, run by his cousin and popular Jamaican producer Don Corleon. After releasing “Dread”, “JA” and “Roll” in 2010, Protoje‘s debut album, entitled The Seven Year Itch, was released on 25 January 2011. The first single off the album, dubbed “Arguments” (2009), was responsible for his early popularity in Jamaica. In 2011, he released another single off the album entitled “Rasta Love” featuring Ky-Mani Marley.
The 8 Year Affair
His second album, The 8 Year Affair, was released 12 February 2013. “Who Dem a Program” was the first single released from the album in January 2012, with “This Is Not a Marijuana Song” following mid-year. “Kingston Be Wise” was heavily promoted via traditional and social media. On the day of its release, 5 November 2012, the music video became the most viewed YouTube link among internet users in Jamaica. The hashtag #KBW was used on Twitter. The song “Kingston Be Wise” (a remake of Ini Kamoze‘s song “England be nice”) was featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto V on the in-game “Blue Ark” radio station, increasing its popularity further and making an international name for the reggae artist. Protoje cited reggae artist Ini Kamoze and group Black Uhuru as influences when recording the album.
In December 2014 Protoje was included on BBC Radio 1Xtra‘s ‘Hot for 2015’ list.
His third album Ancient Future was initially set for release in September 2014, but was put back until March 2015. Produced by Phillip “Winta” James, the album includes the song “Who Knows”, a collaboration with Chronixx, which was released as a single. Two tracks from the album, “Answer to Your Name” and “Criminal” were released ahead of the album as exclusives on the England Be Wise mixtape for BBC 1xtra DJ Toddla T. Two weeks after its release it topped the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart.
On 14 June 2016, Protoje released Side B of his fourth studio album, Royalty Free, as a free download to the public on his website.
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